If Ol’ Scratch is Really Dead

Just like Zarqawi, Osama’s gotta meet his maker sometime. AJStrata says:

I hope the news is correct. The lack of ‘chatter’ would lead one to assume it is not correct. But Bin Laden has been well hidden for five years now, so it is not unreasonable to assume the same control on his whereabouts could be exercised on his demise.

Supposedly the Saudis are trying to locate OBL’s final resting place for DNA confirmation.

Absent that confirmation, I think everyone is getting ahead of themselves.

But whenever Osama’s grave is dug and he laid within, I can think of no finer tribute than a MOAB, made with WTC steel, delivered with care from the USAF.

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  • Filed in: War on Terror at 1:56 pm on Saturday, September 23, 2006 TrackBack 1 Comment | view comment »

    Insecure Religion

    Protests in Egypt

    Protests in India

    The Pope’s comments were poorly-chosen, not because they were untrue, but because they show a lack of understanding of the immaturity of many of the world’s Muslims:

    Across the Islamic world Friday, Benedict’s remarks on Islam and jihad in a speech in Germany unleashed a torrent of rage that many fear could burst into violent protests like those that followed publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.

    By citing an obscure Medieval text that characterizes some of the teachings of Islam’s founder as “evil and inhuman,” Benedict inflamed Muslim passions and aggravated fears of a new outbreak of anti-Western protests.

    The last outpouring of Islamic anger at the West came in February over the prophet cartoons first published in a Danish newspaper. The drawings sparked protests - some of them deadly - in almost every Muslim nation in the world.

    This post is not about Islam, which truly is one of the world’s great religions. The problem is in the insecurity and immaturity of some of its adherents. How could hissy fits, burning effigies, and death threats possibly entice non-believers into Dar al-Islam? The explosions of anger and violence are not exactly learned and thoughtful entreaties to accept Koranic doctrine. Most people who are not already Muslim will head the other way when subjected to these outbursts.

    So, then, for Islam to spread peacefully, this uproar and protest is actually counter-productive. Muslim clerics say inflammatory things about Judaism and Christianity all the time. While these statements cause a lot of angst on Little Green Footballs and similar communities, most of the time, regular people’s reaction is a shrug. Does it diminish one’s religion to let such comments go? Hardly.

    If I were a physicist, I would not riot when Larry the Cable guy makes ignorant remarks. Sure, it’s annoying, but instead of burning things because my religion was accused of being violent, the physicist in me would be educating people with the truth.

    The Pope’s statement about Islam could be easily discredited as he is not Muslim. However, by some of the ummah responding to the Pope’s allegations about violence in Islam with riots only proves the point. It would be far better for Islam if some Muslims would grow a thicker skin.

    After all, since when does the Pope speak for Islam?

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  • Filed in: Politics, War on Terror at 10:31 am on Saturday, September 16, 2006 TrackBack 5 Comments | view comments »

    Visoko Pyramids- More Evidence

    Maybe so:

    An Egyptologist who investigated two hills in central Bosnia believed by some to be ancient pyramids on Wednesday recommended that archaeological digs be carried out there.

    After investigating the two hills for a week, Dr. Mohammed Ibrahim Ali, a professor of Egyptology in Cairo, said nobody should be jumping to conclusions but having in mind everything he had seen in Visoko, his recommendations would be that “it is worth digging here.”

    “You have to be patient. This might take decades,” he said.

    No pyramids are known in Europe, and there are no records of any ancient civilization on the continent ever attempting to build one.

    However, the theory that at least two oddly shaped hills near the central Bosnian town of Visoko might be ancient pyramids covered by dirt and vegetation was proposed by an amateur researcher last year.

    I wrote on the topic almost a year ago, and it still gets a steady stream of search engine hits. It’s earth-shattering to think that we could find evidence of a lost human civilization, but if the Bosnian pyramid checks out, that’s exactly what we’ll have. Maybe then the country will be renowned for something positive.

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    Hekmatyar Captured?


    Hekmatyar fought against the Soviets, was prime minister of Afghanistan in the mid 1990s, and became an anti-Taliban fighter until the collapse of Afghanistan’s Taliban government in December of 2001. After the U.S. operation, Hekmatyar threw in his lot with the Taliban and al-Qaeda, and brought Hezb-i-Islami into battle against the government of Hamid Karzai. Hezb-i-Islami split in two, with a section loyal to Hekmatyar (know as Hezb-i-Islami Gulbuddin or HIG). HIG has influence particularly with Afghan refugees in western Pakistan.

    The capture of Hekmatyar is a major blow to al-Qaeda and the Taliban, as it provides an opportu nity to split his organization. HIG is considered one of the major Anti-Government Elements (or AGEs) in Afghanistan. And Hekmatyar may be privy to valuable information about the location of high level al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders.

    Hekmatyar is closely tied to Iran, and had his base of support in Herat before the 2001 invasion. Captured in Eastern Afghanistan, the former prime minister gave up without a fight.

    He’s also the only Prime Minister to ever shell his own capital, Kabul in a post-Soviet spat between himself and Burhanuddin Rabbani’s and Ahmed Shah Massoud’s forces. Later, after the rise of the Taliban, Hekmatyar joined the efforts against the Taliban led by Rabbani and Massoud (killed September 9, 2001 in a suicide bombing).

    Hekmatyar’s capture in a joint American/Afghan operation will help stabilize Afghanistan. Along with the continuing success of Operation Medusa, Afghanistan is improving significantly.

    Update: Shucks. Wasn’t him, it was his stunt double.

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  • Filed in: War on Terror at 9:51 pm on Monday, September 11, 2006 TrackBack Speak Up

    5,000 Dead Terrorists

    CIA Chief Says 5,000 dead terrorists in 5 years of the War on Terror.

    More than 5,000 terrorists have been captured or killed in the five years since the 9/ll attacks, CIA director Gen. Michael Hayden said today.

    Hayden’s remarks were made in a videotape statement distributed to CIA employees around the world.

    Hayden called the 9/ll attacks “an unforgettable blow” from a “plot we had not been able to prevent.”

    Since then, he said, “Al-Qa’ida’s core operational leadership has been decimated, and their
    successors are in hiding or on the run.”

    Hopefully this is untrue. If Hayden is right, the US is way behind in the body count. 2,996 Americans killed in 9/11. Approximately 3,000 military dead in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Strategypage has a different reckoning.

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  • Filed in: War on Terror, Remembering 9/11 at 3:06 pm on Monday, September 11, 2006 TrackBack Speak Up

    2996- Derek James Statkevicus

    Derek James Statkevicus

    Derek James Statkevicus, age 30. 89th floor, Tower 2.

    Newsday recounts:

    The last anyone heard from Statkevicus, who worked in research for the brokerage firm Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc., was when he talked on the phone to his wife Tuesday morning. The conversation started when he called their Norwalk, Conn., home to tell his wife he expected to be leaving the building soon, and ended abruptly with his urgent final words: “I got to go.”

    “There’s a lot of ups and downs,” Kimberly’s father, Frank Young, said Friday. “There’s thoughts of hope and that you want him to be found. But then the reality of it all–of someone surviving from so high up– it’s tough to believe.”

    The Times has this notice:
    Derek J. Statkevicus was never a dog person. For one thing, he did not like dog hair everywhere, said his wife, Kimberley Young Statkevicus. When she finally persuaded him that she needed a pet, he decided on a basset hound because he thought it would look goofy and just sit around (she wanted something more high-energy, like a retriever).

    Then came Squirt: half basset, half yellow Lab, very cute (and house-trained to boot). “He totally fell in love with that dog,” Mrs. Statkevicus said, “even to having her on the bed!”

    Though he commuted an hour and a half each way from Norwalk, Conn., to his job as an equity analyst at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, Mrs. Statkevicus said, “Derek would take her on walks, play ball with her, give her baths and stuff.”

    And a good thing, too, because Tyler, their son, was born in August 2000, a year after Squirt arrived, and another baby is due in January. (Mr. Statkevicus, 30, loved being a father.)

    These days, Squirt gets her exercise in the backyard, sometimes with Tyler, who loves to climb on her. In addition to adoring Squirt, Tyler takes after his father in other ways, Mrs. Statkevicus said: “He’s very active, very smart.”

    Derek’s friend Perry Woods remembers:
    Derek definitely was a GIANT of a man.
    Standing 6′7″ he was an ominous presence from the first time I saw him at the Varsity volleyball tryout that I was running at NYU.
    At that point the only info I had on him was that he was from Toronto (being a Canadian, I thought maybe he was confused and meant to go to the Varsity hockey tryouts) and that he had played one year of Varsity at the University of Western Ontario in London (ONTARIO THAT IS, NOT ENGLAND)

    He played with a tenacity on the court and was a practical jokester off the court. Best wishes to his family. All that I can say to his family is that he was a good guy to know and he will not be forgotten.

    Those who knew him during his time at Ithaca College recall:
    Derek Statkevicus ’93 was a serious Yankees fan and liked to travel; he and his wife and son had just returned from a vacation in North Carolina.

    He worked in financial research for Keefe, Broyette & Woods on the 89th floor of 2 World Trade Center. Minutes after the first tower was hit, he called his wife, Kim, to ask her to turn on the news to find out what was happening. He said he was going down a few floors with colleagues to watch the news on TV and await evacuation instructions. Kim never heard from him again.

    The couple’s friend Laura Olivieri ’94 says, “Derek was one of my favorite people — always upbeat and funny and positive.” An accounting major who graduated magna cum laude and received many departmental and pre professional honors at IC, Derek was “pleasantly mischievous,” says Paul Frankel ’94, who roomed with him during the 1992–93 school year. “He loved to debate — we always had a bet going on some subject. He could elevate any group dynamic. All his friends thought of Derek and Kim as social ambassadors.”

    Derek met Kimberly Young in New York City in June 1996. They were married in January 1998 and settled in Norwalk, Connecticut.

    “The two of them,” says Olivieri, “made an amazing instant transition to parenthood. Derek adored Tyler [born in August 2000] and was very into his family.” He was eagerly anticipating the son Kim is expecting in January. The couple had together picked out the name Chase, but Kim now plans to name the baby Derek Chase.

    Derek also leaves his younger brother, Joel, and his parents, Nancy and Michael.

    Derek’s wife Kim overcame her grief and suffering:

    Kim, Tyler, and Chase

    (Circa 2002) Some days are more difficult than others.

    “I’ll hear from someone at Derek’s company that they found (an employee’s) remains, and I’ll feel the angst again and wonder if I’ll find a policeman on my doorstep when I least expect it,” says Statkevicus.

    Derek’s memorial service was held last September, and his remains have not been identified. She has agreed to be notified if that happens, even though it could take up to two years.

    “Here I am starting to do better, and I wonder what kind of place I’ll be in if I hear that,” she says. “But I want to know because I would always wonder.

    Statkevicus is especially appreciative of the IWF grant, which she has used to hire a baby sitter to supplement the child care help she’s received from family and friends. And she’s grateful to everyone who’s sent a card or note.

    “I appreciate the kindness of everyone I know and don’t know,” she says. “Every card and note means a lot.”

    Some have sent gifts, and many strangers have offered to help her and the other widows. She declined an offer to “adopt” her family.

    “A lot of people do things to make themselves feel better, and that’s great,” she says.

    “I’d like for life to be normal again, not have people whisper about me,” Statkevicus says. “It’s not in a bad way and it’s nice to be acknowledged, but I don’t want my sons to live the rest of their lives known for this.”

    In September, the IWF will gather all the widows who had babies for a luncheon in New York.

    Statkevicus says she is dreading the hype of the one-year anniversary.

    “I’d like to go away somewhere,” she says. “I see September as this milestone I have to get over, even though I know it might not be better after.

    “I have a new life now — not better — but a new one.”

    Kim has applied her experience at September Smiles, an organization dedicated to helping all widows (including those from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and Hurricane Katrina) get through the first year of their bereavement.

    Kim’s strength and philanthropic instincts say a lot about Derek. Never forget.
    (Read on …)

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  • Filed in: Remembering 9/11 at 12:00 am on Monday, September 11, 2006 TrackBack 3 Comments | view comments »

    9/11 Videos

    These CBS videos capture the confusion and misapprehension of the morning.

    About 3 minutes into this video, it’s clear what’s happening:

    Bryant Gumbel is strangely detached from the second crash. It sounds like at first that he can’t see the live video showing the second tower erupt into flames, but later he asks for a wider shot. Incredible.

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    RINO Sightings

    The RINOs have been sighted, well, just about everywhere. Jim at Right Thoughts has a transcript. Great work, occifer.

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    Sad news from Queensland:

    Steve Irwin, the TV presenter known as the “Crocodile Hunter,” has died after being stung by a stingray in a marine accident off Australia’s north coast.

    Irwin’s enthusiastic approach to nature conservation and the environment won him a global following. He was known for his exuberance and use of the catch phrase “Crikey!”

    “It’s unbelievable, really,” Jack Hanna, the host of “Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventure” and director emeritus of the Columbus (Ohio) Zoo, told CNN. “You think of Steve Irwin and you think ‘indestructible.’ ”

    Hanna, a friend of Irwin’s, noted that Irwin’s persona of the Crocodile Hunter was no act. Irwin grew up around crocodiles, snakes and other animals at his parents’ Queensland Reptile and Fauna Park and had been handling such creatures since he was a child.

    “The guy lived his life this way,” said Hanna. “It was how he was raised. You knew that this guy, from the time he was 8 or 9 years old, was working with crocodiles and snakes.”

    Though stingrays can be threatening, their sting — usually prompted by self-defense — is not often fatal. The bull ray that apparently stung Irwin was “a one-in-a-million thing,” wildlife documentary maker Ben Cropp told TIME. “I have swum with many rays, and I have only had one do that to me.”

    I always envied a man who loved what he did as much as Steve Irwin did.

    We’ll miss you, Steve-O.

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    September: Month of Remembrance

    I will be posting frequently on the attacks of September 11, 2001 this month, their aftermath, their perpetrator, al-Qaeda, and relationship of the attacks to the War on Terror.

    I have never censored this blog’s comments for content, but on posts in the Remembering 9/11 category, I will delete anything disrespectful or offensive. LD, you have been warned.

    2996- Honoring 911 victims

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